Your beard is an extension of you. There’s a meme floating around that says it’s awesomeness escaping from your face. So you take care of it, as you rightfully should. You use beard oil, you keep it clean, you comb it out with a wooden comb. But you might also be sabotaging those efforts with some shitty practices, and chances are you didn’t even know you were doing anything wrong. This includes…
1. Washing with Regular Shampoo or Soap
Beards get dirty. Just like the hair on your head, your beard captures sweat and dirt throughout the day. Beards also have the added feature of acting as a food depository, especially if you’re not following the rules for eating with a beard. So if you clean your beard in the shower, then don’t worry – your instincts are good. Where guys go wrong is using ordinary shampoos or even bar soaps on their beards.
I know there’s liable to be some angry grumblings about the bar soap thing. There’s a popular brand of pine tar soap that a lot of bearded dudes use in their beards. And it’s a quality soap, and one that does have some benefits for your beard. Pine tar is great for things like psoriosis, so it stands to reason that it would be helpful for the notoriously itchy skin under your beard. But pine tar isn’t exactly known for its moisturizing properties (it’s traditionally been used as a sealant, actually). And unfortunately, that itch under your beard is almost always caused by dry skin, so while the soap may sooth your face, it’s ultimately treating only the symptom, and not getting to the root of the problem.
A moisturizing beard shampoo or conditioner will work wonders for your beard. Look for an all-in-one type. If someone tries to sell you a beard shampoo and a beard conditioner, their beard shampoo is going to dry your beard out. Why not get one that does both for you?
2. Blow Drying
Not everyone blow dries their beard, but some people do. I’ve done it on occasion. I use beard oil every day, and beard balm on semi-daily basis, and both work better after a shower, but not on a wet beard. So to speed things up, I’ll use a hair dryer. And that’s fine, so long as you remember one key step: switch it to cool air.
Heat is a killer for hair. Any woman who blow dries her hair regularly can tell you that too much heat too often can leave hair dry and brittle. And that’s no good. Most beard grooming practices are trying to prevent that very problem. Cool air is not as harmful (if it even is at all). Run a comb through there while you’re doing it, and you should be able to dry your beard in just a minute or two, even using the cool air.
3. Flat Ironing
While we’re on the subject, if you use a flat-iron to straighten your beard hair, stop. Just stop. The hot air from a hair dryer is bad enough, but pressing your beard hair between two extremely hot pieces of ceramic is just asking for trouble.
If you have a bad curl problem, consider using beard balm to get a little extra control over your beard hair. Most beards don’t take much, but some can require a little more if they’re particularly tenacious. Just look for a natural recipe, and not one of the commercial ones made with petroleum jelly.
Of all the items on this list, this one is the most habitual. You may not even realize you’re doing it. We all stroke our beards, and if you don’t you should definitely try it; beard stroking is awesome. Plus it makes you look super wise. And stroking is fine.
But picking at the hairs of your beard can cause a problem. The difference is that stroking is more of a general rubbing motion of the entire beard, while picking is plucking or otherwise fiddling with individual hairs. This can be damaging to the hair follicles, and chances are you’re going to end up pulling out hairs. When you do that, you can end up plucking the follicles bald, and the hair might not even regrow. So too much of this and you can literally kill your beard forever. So, you know…don’t do it.
You want your beard to be as kickass super amazing awesome as possible. We all do. And if you’re guilty of any of the above practices, no one is blaming you. But now that you know, you can make your beard that much better. Beard fierce!